A familiar face and voice in the Illinois ag community received a well-deserved honor from the University of Illinois recently.
Colleen Callahan was presented with the U of I Alumni Association Award for Excellence last week. Merrill Crowley interviewed Callahan about the award and her career.
“I’m honored and I’m humbled, Callahan said. “It’s a recognition that I didn’t seek and it’s not one that I anticipated. That makes it all the more special.”
Callahan believes it is especially meaningful to be recognized by others for work you have done. The former USDA Rural Development director for Illinois has transitioned into consulting work serving rural communities which have questions and needs. She also does communication coaching and training.
“I’ve been in all 102 counties and I’ve met mayors, sewage plant operators and economic developers,” Callahan explained.
Callahan grew up on a farm near Milford and graduated from the U of I before landing roles as an agribusiness reporter on area radio and television stations for several years. She currently lives on a farm near Kickapoo with her husband where they raise purebred Angus cattle. The couple has a daughter who practices law in Chicago.
When asked what advice she would offer young people, Callahan said to be yourself, be determined and don’t be bothered by setbacks – which everyone experiences.
“You hear about the good things and you don’t talk about the bad things sometimes,” Callahan said.
(Merrill Crowley contributed to this report for The CIFN)